The Supreme Court said this while delivering a verdict on a batch of petitions on the situation Jammu and Kashmir. (Photo Credit: PTI)
The Supreme Court on Friday ordered Jammu and Kashmir Administration to review all restrictive orders, including internet ban, with a week. The top court said this while delivering a verdict on a batch of petitions on the situation in the Union Territory after the abrogation of Article 370. The court said that such suspension can only be for a limited time period and is subject to judicial review. “It is no doubt that freedom of speech is an essential tool in a democratic setup. Freedom of Internet access is a fundamental right under Article 19(1)(a) of free speech,” the court observed.
“The internet is a major means of information, therefore, freedom of expression through the internet is part of Article 19(1)(a) and restrictions on it should be in accordance with restrictions to this right,” the court said.
Supreme Court while delivering verdict on petitions on situation in J&K after abrogation of Article 370: It is no doubt that freedom of speech is an essential tool in a democratic set up.Freedom of Internet access is a fundamental right under Article 19(1)(a) of free speech https://t.co/NcuCbeMxih— ANI (@ANI) January 10, 2020
The order was passed by a three-judge bench, headed by Justice NV Ramana. Other members of the bench are Justices R Subhash Reddy and BR Gavai. The court said that all orders should be put in the public domain which can then be challenged in a court of law.
On the use of Section 144 of CrPC, the top court said that it cannot be used as a tool to suppress differences of opinion. “Section 144 of CrPC is a remedial and preventive measure and must be subject to the test of proportionality and used only if there is a likelihood of violence and danger to public safety,” the court observed.
“Magistrates, while passing prohibitory orders, should apply mind and follow the doctrine of proportionality,” it added.
The court said that it will not delve into the political intent behind the orders but emphasized that it is the court’s job to ensure that the citizens are provided all rights and security. “Liberty and security are always at loggerheads. It is Court's job to ensure that the citizens are provided all rights and security,” justice NV Ramana said.